CD1d and nonclassical MHC molecules differ markedly from classical MHC ligands in their ability to promote the selection and differentiation of developing T cells. Whereas classical MHC-restricted T cells have a predominantly naive phenotype and a broad TCR repertoire, most other T cells have a memory and/or NKT phenotype with a restricted repertoire. Because the nonclassical ligands selecting these memory-type cells are expressed by bone marrow-derived cells, it has been suggested that the development of large repertoires of naive-type cells was dependent on the classical MHC expression pattern in the thymus cortex, high on epithelial cells and low on cortical thymocytes. We redirected CD1d expression using the classical MHC II Eα promoter. pEα-CD1d mice lacked memory-type NKT cells, but, surprisingly, they did not acquire the reciprocal ability to select a diverse population of naive CD1d-restricted cells. These findings suggest that, whereas the development of NKT cells is dependent on the pattern of CD1d expression, the absence of a broad, naive CD1d-restricted T cell repertoire may reflect intrinsic limitations of the pool of TCR genes or lipid Ags.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy